I ran across a footnote in a magazine the other day that provided some stunning information.
FBI Agents gave their informants permission to break the law at least 5658 time is 2011, authorizing everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. (The Week, August 16-23, 2013, pg. 18).
I shouldn’t have been surprised. In my public life, I was aware that law enforcement was known to perform sting operations, sometimes in quiet neighborhoods as well as in those which were crime ridden. I never liked this strategy and said so. Fabricating a crime to catch a criminal struck me as an oxymoron, like the slogan “A war to end wars.” Worse, “Little “Ricco” laws allow these enforcement agencies to profit from their stings. A portion of any property involved in the operation is forfeited to the agency, leaving the innocent family members potentially homeless or without a car and with no legal recourse. I’m sorry to say that a shiny new police car may have come at a price for the innocent.
Sting operations and Little Ricco laws are worrisome because they present a conflict of interest and are ripe for abuse. I prefer solid methods of sleuthing where neighborhoods and families aren’t disrupted and where good guys stay on one side of the line and bad guys on the other.
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